I’ve had a ‘cleaning up’ kind of month. Usually when speaking of clean ups, one thinks of Spring, but Autumn is definitely clean up time in the garden. However, it’s not happening in my garden just yet. Other projects have been afoot.
Firstly, I’ve been helping my daughter with a house renovation project. Much energetic tearing up, pulling down and throwing away was involved. As well as many malodorous trips to the rubbish tip. Although trade contractors were employed to do the specialised work, we two surprised ourselves with the degree of success we had in what are traditionally thought of as male jobs. When strength is not up to the mark, often creative thinking can get the job done. Up ladders, under floors, wielding unfamiliar tools designed for male use, my daughter cried ‘it’s not can we do it but how can we do it’ – and we did. It felt good. Tradesmen were mostly generous with advice and encouragement, sharing their experience to our advantage.
The project is almost complete now except for some landscaping. I will feel more confident working in that familiar arena.
The second clean up took place in a friend’s garden. She’s been having a difficult time lately and tasks that normally she would take in her stride have seemed a bit overwhelming. Always generous to a fault when her friends needed help, it was her turn to be on the receiving end. So we worked together to clear a mountain of leaves from her courtyard. Bending our backs we raked and swept, picked up then bagged the dead leaf matter, chatting and laughing as we went about our task. It felt good. Standing back to see the results confirmed it looked good too.
All this cleaning up has made me realise the benefits of a good clean out. You see, I realised clean ups are not just physical – not just a strenuous work out, a clearing of space and a new order imposed.
No. A good clean up is a spiritual and mental exercise too.
In both instances I’ve related, space was cleared for new perspectives, different ways of looking at and understanding the world around me. Moving stuff around, cleaning out and disposing of ‘rubbish’ in my mind and outlook, allows a fresh start, an opportunity to see what’s important and what no longer matters. Sometimes my internal clean ups take place on morning walks, or when I have my hands in the dirt. Whatever the situation, just as the garden must be periodically cleared to allow for new growth, it’s crucial for good mental health to have a regular clean out of ‘thought detritus’.
The mind is everything. What you think you become.
I am taking a couple of weeks’ break for a family reunion which will no doubt provide good fodder for future posts – no one is safe!
Further reading: https://unclutterer.com/2011/03/29/scientists-find-physical-clutter-negatively-affects-your-ability-to-focus-process-information/